Economy, Business And Markets

Bullion Coin Rebounds From 3-Month Low

Business & Markets Desk
Bullion Coin Rebounds From 3-Month LowBullion Coin Rebounds From 3-Month Low

T he Azadi bullion coin rebounded from a three-month low on Monday due to gold’s rise in the global arena as the dollar rally paused.

But gold and Azadi remained near a three-month low after a strong US jobs report boosted expectations the Federal Reserve would soon raise interest rates.

The benchmark gold coin advanced a third of a percent to 9,610,000 rials by 12:35 GMT, held back by a 0.15 percent slip in the US dollar’s exchange rate versus the rial.

The dollar changed hands at 33,980 rials in Ferdowsi Street – the hub of currency trade in Tehran, breaking below the key 34,000 rial level. The dollar had tested and failed to break below the 34,000 rial mark four times in the past month.

“It is unclear if the dollar can stay below 34,000 rials, given its strength,” a veteran currency trader told the Financial Tribune, “The greenback has broken below before but rebounded afterwards.”

Spot gold rose 0.53 percent to $1,173.46 an ounce by 12:35 GMT. It fell 2.6 percent on Friday, its biggest daily loss since Oct. 1, 2013, and reached its lowest since Dec. 1 at $1,163.45 after the US nonfarm payrolls, Reuters reported.

Azadi followed suit. The benchmark precious coin dropped 2.51 percent to 9,550,000 rials by 11:51 GMT on Saturday in Tehran on Saturday after stronger-than-expected US non-farm payrolls fueled expectations the Federal Reserve will raise rates sooner rather than later, and the dollar jumped to an 11-1/2 year high, Reuters reported.

US employers stepped up hiring in February and the unemployment rate fell to nearly a seven-year low, putting further pressure on the Fed to raise interest rates in June, and sending Treasury yields higher.

“What we saw on Friday, even though it was a big day for gold, the US dollar and rates, it is still part of this gradual recovery in the US economy that will continue to evolve throughout this year,” Julius Baer commodity analyst Warren Kreyzig told Reuters.

Higher interest rates could dent demand for non-interest-bearing assets such as gold.

“The number fuelled expectations that the Fed will now raise rates sooner rather than later, with the consensus now back to a June increase as opposed to September,” said INTL FCStone in a note.

The dollar paused after hitting a 1-1/2 year high against a basket of leading currencies, dropping 0.3 percent.

Traders were also focusing on the outcome of a Monday meeting of eurozone finance ministers, who are due to discuss a recent letter of pledged reforms sent by Greece.

Persistent uncertainty over the debt crisis, which could see Greece exit the eurozone, could boost retail demand for gold.

In a sign of waning investor interest, holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the top gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell to the lowest in more than a month on Friday, while speculators cut net long positions in COMEX gold futures and options for a fifth straight week.

Demand for physical bullion in the main Asian markets following the price dip, could provide some support, traders said.

Premiums in the second biggest gold consumer China largely traded between $5 and $6 on Monday, up from $4 to $5 in the previous session, a sign of increased demand.

Spot silver fell to its lowest in two months at $15.69 an ounce in earlier trade before trading up 0.1 percent at $15.92. Palladium was up 0.5 percent at $819.75 an ounce, while platinum fell to its lowest since mid-July 2009 at $1,145.95 an ounce.

Iranian traders are also monitoring talks between Iran and the six world powers. The negotiations are aimed at persuading Iran to curb its nuclear energy program in exchange for relief of sanctions that have damaged its economy.

Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Russia, China and Britain are trying to seal an understanding by the end of March before a final deal in June.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet again on March 15 in Switzerland, an Iranian official told Reuters.